It Follows

It Follows ★★★★½

It Follows asks us to consider the fact that maybe our punishments and our guilt, maybe even death cannot be avoided, but only postponed. In many, even most, horror films, there is something or someone to run from, to avoid. But that thing often has a weakness, something to make it defeatable; a trait that it's punished for just like the protagonist is being punished by it for their own shortcomings. Here, it cannot be defeated. It is and always will be.

The film introduces us to Jay, a girl on a date with a guy named Hugh. At the movie theater, he sees another girl following him, but Jay cannot see her. He quickly realizes that it is back. This thing is passed on like an STD, and follows its victim until they pass it on to another or it kills them, and then it kills the previous victim. Presumably, Hugh had given it away ages ago. But it's not something you ever get rid of. Even when it's gone, it's not.

For the remainder of the film, it follows Jay. Director David Robert Mitchell uses this scenario to create several effectively spooky scenes, all within the shadow of dread. The compositions are especially creative, often giving us a wide angle, out of focus background behind Jay that we're constantly scanning for it.

We are also treated to some great writing and a great cast of characters. This being a movie about a sexually transmitted demon, it'd be appropriate to add a sexual tension between a few of the characters, adding an interesting ethical layer to the film as well as upping the unsettling factor. Is it right to pass it on, even consensually? That's a question this poses, weaved in with another characters romantic interest in Jay. I really liked that this element was added, it gives the relationship an air of spookiness but also makes it all the more sweet in a way by the end.

It Follows is a truly original and creative subversion of horror tropes, but one that definitely works on its own as its own film. Truly unsettling, a masterful air of tension and atmosphere, and some great visual direction. A modern classic that I severely underrated the first time around.

Luke liked these reviews